Right now we are in the middle of May and the weather is behaving very different from previous years. It is supposed to be spring with sunny days… but instead we have half day with sun and half day with rain.
The mornings are beautiful with sun and the birds are singing happily and busy making nests and taking care of their young ones. In the afternoons the rain will start pouring down leaving everything green and crisp.
I must admit that I enjoy the weather like this, the summer is always very long and very warm in Montegiove so for me, being north European, it feels refreshing with a spring like this that leaves the garden and park perfectly watered and all water reserves full and ready for the long summer.
I am not worried summer will come and this year it will be greener and prettier than ever!
Umbria in spring is splendid! with blooming flowers, gorgeous views and green landscapes. Especially in an area as full of natural beauty as this one. The countryside of Umbria is often nicknamed the “green heart of Italy,” is beautiful year-round. But in the springtime, when the weather is mild and not too hot the flowers are blooming, it’s especially pretty.
Don’t miss Umbria in springtime.
Umbria has always been dedicated to agriculture, animal husbandry and food, outshining at the national level in the quality and typicality of earth products. Agriumbria is the main trade fair exhibition of this productive sector and gathers exhibitors from all over Italy.
The traditionally cattle market is impressive with all the enormously big bulls and clean and combed sheep and goats and other exhibition spaces with technological solutions to suit every type of farm.
We always return from the fair with catalogs for way too big but very cool tractors, funny plants, seeds for unusual vegetables and exotic herbs, sometimes chickens or ducklings and some years ago even a peacock couple (I will write about that adventure in another blog post). This year we managed to leave Agriumbria without new livestock in the car but with only a blueberry bush and some very small succulent plants.
For the last many weeks my husband has meet this charming little friend every afternoon at the same spot and he finally managed to take a fantastic photo of the animal. Normally porcupines are very shy and not easy to get close to, but this one is actually not afraid at all and it almost looks like he enjoyed posing for the camera.
The porcupine quills that cover the back can get up to 35 cm long. In case of danger, the porcupine threatens the adversary by shaking the tail where the quills are particular hollow to make a rattling sound.
Just one of the many wild animals to meet on the estate of Castello di Montegiove.
The evergreen oak trees (Quercus Ilex) in the courtyard were planted in the beginning of 1900 when Lorenzo’s grandfather was born. On these old black and white family photo from 1906, he is standing with his mother in the garden and you can see the young trees in the background. Today more than 100 years later, the tree tops reaches the lover part of the roof.
Before the castle was converted from fortress into country home, there was a wall all the way around the courtyard, but to let light in and to make the garden more open and welcoming the wall was taken down and the trees was planted also as windbreak for the tramontana.
We just love finding old photos and uncover the history of the castle. It is fascinating to think about the Misciattelli generations that lived here before us.
May is the Elderflower season in Montegiove and it is the first sign of spring turning into summer.
When the beautiful flower is blooming, it looks just like a ballet tulle skirt, ready to be worn by an Elderflower Fairy.
The Elderflower Cordial is one of the most refreshing drinks for the summer.
20 Heads of Elderflower (preferable without bugs)
Sugar 1 kg
3 Organic lemons (Juice from two and one lemon in slices)
1 l boiling water
1. Shake the heads of the elderflowers well, picking off any bugs.
2. Place the elderflowers, sugar, lemon juice and lemon slices in a large bowl.
3. Add the boiling water and stir.
4. Leave in a cold place to infuse for 2-3 days stirring occasionally.
5. Strain through clean fine muslin cloth into a clean bowl.
6. Fill the cordial into clean sterilized bottles. Store in a cool dark place or freeze in plastic containers to keep for longer.
Drink cold or hot diluted with water, -also delicious combined with lemon juice in a sorbet.
This little fellow woke us up one rainy morning; he was sitting outside on the window bars insisting on rehearsing his oop-oop-oop over an over again. Very charming to start with but after a while it got a little monotonous and we got up to find out what it was all about.
It felt very special to witness this pretty bird singing and we managed to make a blurry photo through the window glass.
In Italy the Upupa is also known as the butterfly bird. When it fly it looks like a giant butterfly as the wings are half closing at the end of each beat or short sequence of beats. It is also called the Legionary Bird because of its distinctive “crown” of feathers on the top of the head that it can open like a fan.
It is a colourful and very pretty bird known back to ancient Egypt and it is one of the fascinating animals that live in the forest around Castello di Montegiove.